This is the 13th annual “Workers Memorial Day” in Iowa. State Labor Commissioner Byron Orton says the day celebrates creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Orton says OSHA has made workplaces safer. Orton says occupational fatalities have been reduced by approximately 50-percent, but in Iowa there is about one workplace fatality per week.Steelworkers Local 164 president John Peno of Des Moines says “Workers Memorial Day” was created for a special purpose. Peno says the day is held for in respect for workers killed on the job in the previous year.A ceremony today in Des Moines will be followed by a rally on behalf of workers striking at Titan Tire’s Des Moines plant. Peno says overall, Iowa’s a pretty good state for recognizing the contributions of labor. Peno’s union represents workers who, as of May 1st, will have been on strike for three years . Peno says talks may resume before long. Peno says they’ll meet through May and hope to get back to work. Peno thinks even though the union members have been on strike for three years, many will be willing to take back their old jobs once the tire company settles on a new contract with workers. State officials say 55 Iowans died on the job last year. Clergy and labor leaders will remember those workers at a ceremony in Des Moines which begins at 11:30 a.m.
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